WORKS: Baryton Trios No. 50 in D; Baryton Trios No. 52 in D; Baryton Trios No. 57 in A; Baryton Trios No. 59 in G; Baryton Trios No. 67 in G; Baryton Trios No. 107 in D
PERFORMER: Haydn Baryton Trio
CATALOGUE NO: DOR-90233
The baryton was a modified viola da gamba with additional, metal strings that ran behind the fingerboard. These would resonate when the main strings were bowed (giving the timbre a distinctive sheen) and could also be plucked. An 18th-century vogue, it was the favourite instrument of Haydn’s employer, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, who required a constant supply of new compositions to perform. Despite its technical limitations (and the prince’s modest ability), Haydn composed nearly 200 pieces for baryton between 1762 and 1778, including 126 trio divertimenti.
The latter contain some attractive music, notably in slow movements, such as No. 107’s Andantino with its engaging echo effect. But, though superbly played here, such divertimenti remain a minor thread in Haydn’s rich tapestry. Graham Lock